Nature and everyman’s rights
Everyman’s rights in Finland and Sweden offer a unique opportunity to roam freely in nature. Compared to many other countries this freedom to roam is quite exclusive. When enjoying nature, in addition to everyman’s rights we are also all guided by responsibilities. We must respect nature and take into consideration animals and plants, landowners and local residents. Please note that everyman’s rights are not the same in Åland they are elsewhere in Finland.
Where can you walk?
You may move freely by foot, bike and kayak, but avoid private areas, yards and docks. Do not tread on farmland. Remember to close any gates, if you happen to walk through them. Abide by the same rules also when taking a break.
You may temporarily spend a night in a tent as long as it is far enough from settlement. In Åland we recommend spending the night at a camping site, resort village or guest harbour.
In Finland and Åland making open fire is forbidden without the landowner’s permission. Archipelago nature is especially delicate and far-spread fire may destroy areas for long periods of time. During a forest fire warning making fire at campfire sites is absolutely forbidden as well. Be careful when lighting fire at barbeque sites. Check for forest fire warnings before making fire.
In Sweden making fire is permitted in safe conditions such as on sandy and gravelly ground. However, it is recommended to make fire at campfire sites.
You may collect fallen branches for your fire, but it is forbidden to break branches from live trees. Camping cookers are not classified as open fire, so they may be used to prepare food.
Hunting and fishing
Hunting and fishing are not part of everyman’s rights.
You will need a fishing permit to fish. The permit is also required for spin fishing. Fishing permits are sold online among other places. In Finland it is permitted to rod fish and ice fish without a fishing permit. In Åland fishing is prohibited between 15.4.–15.6. due to sea bird nesting.
In order to hunt you must know how to hunt and have a valid hunting permit.
Picking berries, mushrooms and flowers
According to everyman’s rights you have the right to pick berries, mushrooms and flowers unless they are protected. Conservation areas and national parks have their own rules that must be obeyed.
About everyman’s rights:
- Environment.fi – Finland’s environmental administration
- Swedish Environmental Protection Agency – This is allowed
The tick (Ixodes ricinus / I. persulcatus) is a small arachnid, about 1–4 mm in size. Ticks are parasites that suck blood from birds and mammals, even people.
Ticks live in grassy undergrowth. When animals and people tread, ticks latch and climb onto their host animal. Ticks use their strong jaws to bite into their host’s skin and suck blood for several days. Once the tick has sucked enough blood, it detaches now notably larger in size.
A tick bite does not hurt, but it may itch. Ticks should be removed from the skin as soon as possible, preferably before it begins sucking. It is best to remove the tick using tick tweezers, which can be found at the pharmacy. Ticks spread dangerous diseases which is why it is important to protect oneself from them by wearing long pants and boots when treading in thriving meadows. It is also worth doing a tick search each evening before going to sleep. Ask pharmacy personnel for tips regarding removing ticks.
Ticks spread diseases to people as well. The most common diseases are borreliosis, also known as Lyme disease, and TBE (tick-borne encephalitis). Borreliosis is a bacterial disease that cannot be vaccinated for. TBE is a serious viral disease, that can be vaccinated. The vaccination is recommended for everyone staying in tick endemic areas.
The borrelia infection causes a ring-like growing red rash around the bite are. Borreliosis should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. Without treatment borreliosis causes chronic and serious symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, joint pain and itchiness. The best way to avoid tick bites is using protective clothing when moving in grass and doing regular tick bite checks daily. Infection risk decreases the faster a tick is removed.
TBE or tick-borne encephalitis is a serious sickness. In most cases the infection causes little symptoms, but in about a third of cases the virus causes encephalitis or meningitis. The TBE virus moves to ticks from small rodents who themselves do not get sick. The lifecycle of the virus starts from the rodent, from which the tick transmits it to people. The virus spreads through the saliva of the tick.
There are three snake species in the Nordic countries. The adder or common viper (Vipera berus) is the only poisonous species. The other species are grass snake (Natrix natrix) and smooth snake (Coronella austriaca). All of the species are protected meaning that snakes may not be harmed, killed or caught. None of these species attack people and they only bite when defending themselves.
There are a lot of snakes in the archipelago. Therefore, it is worth being cautious when treading in high grass, rocky ground or hot rocks. Snake bites always require seeing a doctor, but it is good to carry a snake bite kit along in your first aid kit.
The Baltic Sea
The Blatic Sea is one of the biggest semi-enclosed seas on Earth. Many aspects make the Baltic unique and sensitive. For example the amount of nutrients causing severe eutrophication and dead bottoms. Here are some practical things for everbody to help protecting the Baltic.